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Preaching the Gospel in the Power of Signs and Wonders

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Iris Ministries in Mozambique has a lot of experience in combining the preaching of the Word with the confirmation of miracles.

Iris Ministries in Mozambique has a lot of experience in combining the preaching of the Word with the confirmation of miracles.

We are to preach the Gospel not just with words, but also with power. Paul wrote: “our gospel came to you not simply with words but also with power, with the Holy Spirit and deep conviction.” (1 Th 1:5). God’s message is not dependent on the rhetoric skills of men, He empowers it with His Spirit.

And what does that power mean? It means signs and wonders:

“I will not venture to speak of anything except what Christ has accomplished through me in leading the Gentiles to obey God by what I have said and done— by the power of signs and wonders, through the power of the Spirit of God. So fromJerusalemall the way around toIllyricum, I have fully proclaimed the gospel of Christ.” (Rom 15:18-19)

The evangelistic strategy of Paul thus is to lead people to Christ through 1) what he says; 2) what he does; 3) the miraculous power of the Holy Spirit.

All three aspects of evangelism are needed. We need to preach the Gospel clearly with our tongues, we need to express the love of God in good deeds, and we need to let God confirm His Word through signs and wonders.

In this blog post, I will express the Biblical foundation of the third aspect. It is inspired by John Wimber’s teaching on “Power Evangelism” (see video below), but includes my own Bible study as well.

To make sure that people understand that the Gospel is not like any other message but a message from Heaven, God confirms it through miracles. Hebrews 2:3-4 says: “This salvation, which was first announced by the Lord, was confirmed to us by those who heard him. God also testified to it by signs, wonders and various miracles, and by gifts of the Holy Spirit distributed according to his will.”

God thus use miracles to testify about salvation. Besides having an intrinsic value, for example abolishing pain when it comes to healing or offering guidance when it come to prophecy, miracles are tools for evangelism.

The same can be seen in the last chapter of Mark. After Jesus has declared that miraculous signs like healing and tongues will follow those who believe Him, “the disciples went out and preached everywhere, and the Lord worked with them and confirmed his word by the signs that accompanied it.” (16:20). Thus, the Lord confirms His Word with these signs, signs that are meant to accompany the Word.

I know that the end of Mark is a disputed text though, but the same line of thought occurs in Acts 14:3: “Paul and Barnabas spent considerable time there, speaking boldly for the Lord, who confirmed the message of his grace by enabling them to perform signs and wonders.” Again, signs and wonders confirm God’s message.

Jesus performed so many miracles that John complains about not managing to write about them all, but he states that the signs he has reported “are written that you may believe that Jesus is the Messiah, the Son of God, and that by believing you may have life in his name.” Thus, the purpose of writing down Jesus’ miracles was to lead people to faith in Him.

In fact, miracles are so important for evangelism that when the apostles needed boldness for evangelism, they prayed: “Enable your servants to speak your word with great boldness. Stretch out your hand to heal and perform signs and wonders through the name of your holy servant Jesus.” (Acts 4:28-29)

The Lord immediately answered their prayer and filled them with the Spirit so violently that the building shook (!), and then they preached the Word of God boldly (vv. 30-31). After all, Jesus had said to them that they would receive power when the Spirit comes upon them so that they will be His witnesses (Acts 1:8).

To sum up: my point is that signs and wonders do not belong to the margins, and they are not opposed to evangelism; on the contrary Christians actively need to pray for them – like in Acts 4:28-29 – if they want to lead more people to Christ.

Finally, a beautiful example of power evangelism can be found in the fantastic film Father of Lights. Ravi is an Indian Christian with an amazing prophetic gift. Every morning, he says, he hears the audible voice of God that gives him direction for the day. One day his mission is to find “a man with white beard, orange roab and a turban” at a specific temple. He does find a maharishi – a guru of gurus – that perfectly fits that description.

Amazingly, the maharishi says that he has seen a god he didn’t recognize in a dream that told him to go to this temple at this day to find Ravi! Ravi then easily leads this guru of gurus to the Lord, and he becomes a passionate Christian.

I’m not saying that all people who see signs and wonders become Christians, just as not all people who hear the Gospel become Christians. I’m not saying that signs and wonders save. And I’m not saying that signs and wonders are more important than salvation. I’m only saying what the Bible says: the Gospel should be confirmed by signs and wonders. Now let’s pray “Come Holy Spirit!” and get going.

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13 Comments

  1. […] Post navigation ← Preaching the Gospel in the Power of Signs and Wonders […]

  2. unklee says:

    Hi Micael. Thanks for visiting my blog and referring me here. I believe that what you say here seems to be what the New Testament says should happen, but my experience is that in reality it happens less than I would expect and hope.

    What is your experience and observation? How would you explain my experience?

    Thanks.

    • Hi brother! Very good and important question. However, i would like if you could specify it a bit. Is your experience that New Testament miracles doesn’t occur as you would hope, or is it that they do occur but people still aren’t saved?

      The former can have a lot of different causes, and a big amount of Charismatic theology concerns how to pursue breakthrough, an open Heaven etc. Faith is needed, as well as hunger, but also willingness to sacrifice. A good start is to study former revivals or revivals in other places and pray for the same where you are. It is also important to connect with others who have the same vision. Also, seek up those who experince these things. Sweden is defenitely not experiencing revival, but I know some people who have led many to Christ through astonishing prophecies (will blog about them here soon). Likewise, I’m sure there’s interesting people down under for you to look up, perhaps John Mellor?

      If the latter is true, that unbelievers experience – not only hear testimonies about – New Testament miracles but don’t get saved to the extent you expected, perhaps something else is missing? Paul tells us to spread the Gospel in words, deeds and in the power of signs and wonders. Are we preaching clear enough? Are our lives reflecting God’s love.

      Those were my reflections to you question. God bless you!

      Micael

  3. unklee says:

    Micael,

    I believe NT type miracles do occur today, but it seems that they occur far less, in the west at any rate, than I would have thought from reading the NT. It seems to me that God gives the gift of faith required to very few people. Those who have this gift should of course use it, but those of us who don’t must use whatever we have been given – in my case, apologetics, service and love.

    ” a big amount of Charismatic theology concerns how to pursue breakthrough”

    Have you found this effective in your own life, and those who you know? I have not. I probably haven’t pursued things very much, but I have at least a little. I’m just not sure whether that is the correct answer. I am interested in your own experience.

    Thanks again.

    • Hi again!

      I defenitely agree upon that NT miracles occur far less in the Western world today than in the book of Acts. That’s what I mean when I say that we lack revival hear. Now, either you can say that this is caused by God, or that it is caused by man. It seems to me that you agree with the former explanation; God has chosen not to give the gift of faith to so many, thus those who haven’t are to accept their role and do what they’re good at. However, I agree with the latter explanation: revival is always the will of God, when it is absent the church is doing something wrong and need to change.

      I think this view is more consistent with the Bible. I can’t get why God suddenly would like to decrease the amount of miracles, especially when it leads to less people getting saved. No, I believe the Western world is the Nazareth of our time, where Christ formerly was known but where doubt and unbelief is so common that he cannot perform miralces here. It is we, not God, who need to change.

      So I am in the process of changing. I still have a long way to go, but I continue to read about former and present revivals, praying, listening and acting. It is important to be thankful for the gifts we have – and your gifts really are wonderful, but Scripture commands us to strive for more gifts, especially prophecy. So I do that. And i keep getting inspired by people who’ve achieved more than I. I have som friends who went on a big revival meeting in Kisumu, Kenya. There, the blind saw, the deaf heard, cripples walked etc. What astonishes me the most however was that the organisers of the campaign (all Kenyans) had fasted for six days without food and water to pray for it. Six days!! Then i really realized that we need more character in the West to reccieve revival.

      God bless you!
      Micael

  4. unklee says:

    Micael,

    Thanks for that reply, it is very helpful. I think you have outlined the issues and our different views very well. I would like to believe as you do, but I am unsure. But I certainly don’t wish to dissuade you.

    “I think this view is more consistent with the Bible.”

    Yes, I think you are right here. My question is, what view is consistent with how God is acting today (as we experience that)?

    The Bible shows itself to be progressive revelation, meaning, for example, that the New Testament to some degree at least replaces or completes the Old. So God doesn’t act the same everywhere all the time.

    So perhaps he is doing something different today, at least in the west? Perhaps it isn’t only our lack of faith or desire? I don’t know. I will continue to take an interest in these things, pray about them, and observe.

    I wish you well in your “process of changing”, and I will continue to read your blog with interest. Thanks again.

    • Thanks for your answer!

      Let me clarify. When I wrote that the view I support (which we can call the Arminian one for simplicity’s sake) is more consistent with the bible, I was both pointing to the fact that the Bible often give an Arminian explanation to the lack of miracles, AND to the fact that lack of miracles, and especially lack of power evangelism, is according to Scripture inconsistent with the nature and will of God. In my opinion, Wimber was right when he pointed out that in the Bible, the Kingdom of God is not spread only through words but through miraculous power. Hence, without miracles, the Kingdom is dysfunctional. In this context, the possibility that God in post-biblical time changes His mind and don’t view miracles as so important is in my opinion as likely as if He suddenly decides that love, peacemaking or salvation is not so important.

      Furthermore, if the “Calvinist” view on the decrease of intensity of miracles would be correct, the primary evidence for this should be a church that is equal to the New Testament church when it comes to faith, zeal and holiness but still lacks the miracle intensity. This would include things like community of goods, passionate evangelism and willingness to face (or experience of) severe persecution, as well as an eager desire to see NT miracles. I have defenitely not found this in the Western world, but many revivals in the two-thirds world fill up many of these criterias.

      God bless you!

  5. […] a John Wimber-inspired charismatic, I am convinced that signs and wonders are wonderful for spreading the Gospel. […]

  6. […] mängd undervisning därute om hur man använder Andens gåvor i evangelisationen (och där har ju John Wimber influerat mig mycket), likaså finns det många som talar om hur man kan kombinera evangelisation med socialt arbete och […]

  7. […] Preaching the Gospel in the Power of Signs and Wonders […]

  8. Molton Kamunenge says:

    Thank you for this piece of infor. I’m not the same anymore. I’m very happy! This is what I needed to hear. Miracles are tools for evengelism.

  9. Mike Lightsey says:

    I agree with what you are saying, that we need the word, deeds, and signs and wonders. It seems many people emphasize one are the other, but I would like to say that the Holy Spirit empowers the proclamation of the word and uses this to convict people of sin. I believe signs and wonders will follow this proclamation and in trurn convince even more people to come to Christ. Love your heart for Jesus, keep up the good work.

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The author

Micael Grenholm - a Swedish charismactivist residing with the Jesus Army in the UK.

Micael Grenholm - a Swedish charismactivist residing with the Jesus Army in the UK.

Check out my YouTube channel!

A Living Alternative

God vs Inequality

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